Monday, January 27, 2014

Pattern pieces added to SodaCAD support files

I spent a lot of time over the weekend learning and using the drawing tools in LibreCAD to draft a front bodice pattern piece.

Most pattern making CAD software gives you two options for getting your patterns into the system. Either you draft directly or you digitize the piece from a hard (or paper) pattern. Because I do not own a digitizing table, I drafted directly in LibreCAD. There were a number of things I learned during this process.
  • To optimize drafting, the drawing tools need to be reorganized. I found myself going back and forth between Draw Parallel, Modify/Trim Extend, Draw 2 point line, Delete, and various snap tools. After a few hours, it was driving me crazy because I wanted my most frequently used tools together. Perhaps a custom tool palette is in order.
  •  The bezier tool (to draw curves) crashed on me multiple times. Partly because I did not understand how to use it. I may file a bug report over at LibreCAD on it. I prefer the bezier tool in Inkscape.
  • There were a lot of drawing tools/methods in Inkscape that I desperately wanted in LibreCAD. Add/Remove points, change point properties, etc.
  • The bright green icons are hard on the eyes and not visually appealing. I know that LibreCAD developers want to improve the icons too, but after a few hours, it is hard to look at the screen. This may be the first thing I work on that I can contribute back to the LibreCAD community.
The good news is that Inkscape can import DXF files pretty cleanly. The image above was imported into Inkscape and exported as a PNG. This means that a person could draft their pattern pieces in LibreCAD and pretty them up in Inkscape. I know that some people use Inkscape/Adobe Illustrator to draft their patterns but both of those tools lack precision and efficiency.

This pattern piece is the first of many to be added to the support files. It is meant for testing and demo purposes only. It should never be considered production ready.

Of course drafting efficiency is only one of the problems to solve. The second required capability is manipulating the pattern piece for actual pattern making.

The pattern piece is located in the source files:

sodacad/librecad/support/library/pattern_pieces

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